Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
Major Laws Administered/Enforced
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the federal law commonly known for minimum wage, overtime pay, child labor, recordkeeping, and special minimum wage standards applicable to most private and public employees. FLSA provides the agency with civil and criminal remedies, and also includes provisions for individual employees to file private lawsuits. The 1989 Amendments to FLSA added a provision for civil money penalties (CMP) for repeated or willful minimum wage or overtime violations. (Since 1974, FLSA has contained a similar CMP provision for child labor violations.)
The Government Contracts statutes set labor standards for wages and hours of work for employees who work on contracts with the Federal government. The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBA) & (DBRA) cover workers on Federal construction contracts, and on construction contracts with State and local governments that are Federally financed or assisted, in whole or in part. The McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) applies to workers on Federal service contracts, and the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA) applies to workers on Federal supply contracts.
The Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) sets standards for migrant and seasonal agricultural workers regarding wages, housing, and transportation. MSPA requires that contractors of migrant agricultural workers register with the Federal government, and notify prospective workers of the wages and working conditions before they are hired. MSPA also requires that providers of housing to such workers comply with certain minimum standards for health and safety, and that transportation providers have vehicles that meet certain standards for safety.
Wage and Hour has certain responsibilities under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). These include: (1) enforcement of the labor standards protections for certain temporary nonimmigrant workers admitted to the U.S. under several programs (D-1, Crewmembers; H-1B, Professional and Specialty Occupation Workers; H-1C, Nurses; H-2A Agricultural Workers); and (2) inspection for compliance with the employment eligibility verification recordkeeping requirements (I-9 reviews).
The Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) prohibits most private employers (Federal, State, and local government employers are exempted from the Act) from using any lie detector tests either for pre-employment screening or during the course of employment. Polygraph tests, but no other types of lie detector tests, are permitted under limited circumstances subject to certain restrictions.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons. At the employee's or employer's option, certain kinds of paid leave may be substituted for unpaid leave. Employees are eligible if they have worked for a covered employer for at least one year, and for 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months, and if there are at least 50 employees within 75 miles. The employee may be required to provide advance leave notice and medical certification. For the duration of FMLA leave, the employer must maintain the employee's health coverage under any group health plan. Upon return from FMLA leave, most employees must be restored to their original or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms.
The wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) protect employees from discharge by their employers because their wages have been garnished for any one debt, and it limits the amount of an employee's earnings that may be garnished in any one week. CCPA also applies to all employers and individuals who receive earnings for personal services (including wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses and income from a pension or retirement program, but ordinarily not including tips).